A meta-analysis of cerebellar contributions to higher cognition from PET and fMRI studies

Hum Brain Mapp. 2014 Feb;35(2):593-615. doi: 10.1002/hbm.22194. Epub 2012 Nov 5.


A growing interest in cerebellar function and its involvement in higher cognition have prompted much research in recent years. Cerebellar presence in a wide range of cognitive functions examined within an increasing body of neuroimaging literature has been observed. We applied a meta-analytic approach, which employed the activation likelihood estimate method, to consolidate results of cerebellar involvement accumulated in different cognitive tasks of interest and systematically identified similarities among the studies. The current analysis included 88 neuroimaging studies demonstrating cerebellar activations in higher cognitive domains involving emotion, executive function, language, music, timing and working memory. While largely consistent with a prior meta-analysis by Stoodley and Schmahmann ([2009]: Neuroimage 44:489-501), our results extended their findings to include music and timing domains to provide further insights into cerebellar involvement and elucidate its role in higher cognition. In addition, we conducted inter- and intradomain comparisons for the cognitive domains of emotion, language, and working memory. We also considered task differences within the domain of verbal working memory by conducting a comparison of the Sternberg with the n-back task, as well as an analysis of the differential components within the Sternberg task. Results showed a consistent cerebellar presence in the timing domain, providing evidence for a role in time keeping. Unique clusters identified within the domain further refine the topographic organization of the cerebellum.

Keywords: cerebellum; cognition; emotion; language; meta-analysis; music; neuroimaging; timing.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebellum / blood supply*
  • Cerebellum / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Databases, Factual / statistics & numerical data
  • Emotions
  • Executive Function / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Music
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Time Perception